What I’m Reading Now: A Magic Steeped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

I am not going to lie. I picked this book because of the cover. I mean just look at it! It’s just so pretty!!

Quick Review: The War of Two Queens by Jennifer L. Armentrout

The latest in the From Blood and Ash series and it’s okay. It was just as fast moving as the previous books but felt a bit uneven. I’m not sure if that is because it’s the first book that the POV is split between Poppy and Casteel and as interesting as it was to get in Casteel’s head but I’m not sure it brought that much to the narrative. I see how it was necessary because for the first half of the book, Poppy and Casteel were separated and with him in the capital with the Queen, we got more insight into who she was but also more context as to her plans. However, I didn’t find Casteel as interesting as I thought I would. He is far more attractive in Poppy’s POV in my opinion.

So what worked for me is the introduction of Reaver. Technically, we first meet him in the prequel series but he was a child and I don’t think he actually said anything. I loved every scene he was in. He not only brought the well needed comic relief but also the exposition needed to not only bridge the two series together but also move this book forward. He really saved this book for me. What didn’t work was the little character development for Kieran. He goes from being the loyal best friend and bonded pair to Casteel to the loyal best friend and bonded pair to Poppy. He has such little personality or purpose outside of the those two characters. I feel like more could be done with this character.

So yeah, it was a good read but compared to the previous books it was a little bit of a let down. I can only hope that what has been set up will bring the series back to the what made it interesting and fun in the first place.

Review: Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur

This book is just so cute. Admittingly, I may be a bit biased. I know Eric. He’s a friend who both Kate and I once worked with. We always knew he was super talented and has a successful career illustrating for DC comics and other comic companies. Years ago, he introduced Wyatt and Adeline on a comic strip website and I loved them then. I was sad when he decided to end it. It’s amazing that they are getting they are getting their own book now.

Wyatt Flynn is your typical middle schooler when he was messing around in the evidence room of his father’s Sheriff’s office and he gets super powers. His poor father doesn’t know what to do. He’s a single dad with two young kids and now one of them has super powers! Super powers that he doesn’t know how to use and will only get him in trouble. The book opens on the first day of school, where Wyatt is excited to see his friends but Dad is super scared that he will do something to out himself. Wyatt is not the brightest. Unlike his sister, Adeline who is a genius. She’s so smart she skipped two grades and now she and Wyatt are in the same grade. Not that Wyatt minds. He likes hanging out with each other. When, a fire breaks out near the school, Wyatt with the help of Adeline go to put it out but how do they get back into school without getting caught? Adeline was a plan for that. She’s the literal brains of this operations. Her alter ego is The Outstanding A-Plus! So cute.

Kids will love this book. It’s fun, funny, colorful and fast paced. Both Wyatt and Adeline are relatable even with their powers. Wyatt may not be the smartest but he’s kind and is earnest. Adeline is smart and brave and confident and knows her worth. The artwork is the perfect blend of the Sunday morning comic strip and modern graphic novel. Full of color and details that brings you into the story and giving readers all they need to know to learn each characters feelings and thoughts. I really liked the styling of the panels. I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who has kids. Boys and Girls will love it and so will their parents. Go buy it!

Quick Review: A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer Armentrout

So I’m not going to lie. I didn’t enjoy this much as the other books set in the world. I guess it’s good to give more context to world that Poppy and Casteel live in and the history behind so many of the conflicts and relationships. Other than that I don’t think it’s necessary. For most of the book, I felt like I was just rereading From Blood and Ash, the first book in the original series. Sera is so much like Poppy and Nyktos or Ash is so much like Casteel. They relationship is so similar. Sera, like Poppy was the Maiden and was raised to fight. They both meet their love interest while they are assuming different personas only to reveal who they really are later. Even their back and forth banter is the same. Heck, at one point, both Sera and Poppy stab Casteel and Nyktos in the heart. Thankfully, the last 100 pages finally became interesting as we learn more about the other Primals and Gods and the circumstances in which Sera and Nyktos became paired up. It just just didn’t need to be a 600+ book to get what we needed to extend the world. Then again, maybe there are things that happen in this book that will become more important in the following books both series to justify the page count. I can only hope so.

Quick Review: House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas

Oh boy this was a lot. Like all of Sarah J. Maas books, there are a lot characters, a lot of POV’s and a lot of twists and turns. At the end of the last book. Bryce and Hunt have saved the city, killing 2 Archangels and started a relationship. Now, they just want to things go back to normal but of course they can’t. Bryce went through the drop and started to embrace her fae powers and all the complications with that. Hunt is no longer a slave but he still works for the Asteri. Both of their relationships with the Asteri is tenuous. They promised that they wouldn’t tell anyone what happened and in exchange they won’t be punished for what they did but it wouldn’t take much for the Asteri to go back on their word. Lay low. It should be easy. That is until a discovery a rebel that has a rare power that everyone wants because of what it can be weaponize. She also have information that could take down the Asteri. She risked her life to save her brother who is now missing and everyone is searching for him. You find the brother, you find her, if she is still alive that is. Of course, Bryce, Hunt and crew get messed up with this. Do they help the rebel cause and risk the freedom that they have earned?

This book was pretty fast paced and the characters are interesting and fun. I like the fantasy elements mixed in with the more contemporary urban setting. Bryce and Hunt are dealing with so many of the same every day complications that you are me deal with but with a super natural elements. I really feel for both of them. Bryce wants to move on but she just can’t. Everything always comes back to her friend, Dannika. She may have died at the beginning of the book but she is still involved in everything that is going on and it makes Bryce wonder if she really ever knew her best friend at all. Hunt has finally found some sort of peace with Bryce and is terrified of losing it and her. They honestly don’t want to be involved and just live their lives but they also can’t just turn a blind eye to the suffering around them. Especially since they both have power and influence to do something about it. As I said at the beginning, there are so many characters and twists and turns it is sometimes hard to keep track of who is who and what is going on. Especially since there are new characters added and characters that were just barely mentioned in the last book that all of sudden become front of center. This is what you signed up for when you read a Sarah J Maas book. Her books are full of characters and mysteries. Some work and some don’t but they are always entertaining.

What I’m Reading Now: Sort of Super by Eric Gapstur

I’m so excited for this book. Eric is a friend of both Kate and I. We all worked together at B&N back in the day and we are so proud of him. Sort of Super follows Wyatt, a middle school kid who has super powers but he doesn’t always know what to do with them. He’s sister is super smart and the two of them together is trouble. lol

What I’m Reading Now: A Shadow in the Ember by Jennifer Armentrout

Back to the World of From Blood and Ash. This is the 1st book in the prequel series Poppy’s grandparents. The Primal of Death and his consort. So far, it’s kinda of a retread of the first book but I’ll give it a chance.

Review: The first 3 books of the From Blood and Ash series by Jennifer Aremtrout

I believe I said when I started reading this book that this was right in my wheelhouse. I do love this type of fantasy. Very Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. With multiple characters and rival arcs and magical powers. I rushed through the first three books only to have to wait another month for the fourth to come out. Poppy is the Maiden. She’s not allowed to talk or talk to anyone. She must always wear a veil when she is in public. Her every move is watched but what is the Maiden? It’s kind of a religious role. She is told how important she is and how she must keep up appearances and not to upset the Gods but no one tells her what really her role is after she ascends or what happen to the only other Maiden. Poppy wants to live and is unsure if she really wants to be the Maiden. Enters Hawke. The handsome and dashing Palace guard. When tragedy strikes and he is assigned to be one of her personal guards, Poppy world starts to change. For the first time, someone starts to ask her questions she’s been asking herself. She starts to believe that there is more to her life then what she has been forced to believe but Hawke is not who he says to be. Of course they fall in love but things are not as smooth. They are from different worlds and want different things. They start to work together because they both can give the what each other wants. I do admit, I like Hawke but there are a few red flags that start to show. He can be very possessive and controlling. He saves her from her prisoner only to try to force her into marriage. However, as the books move on he starts to give up a little control. Poppy because more powerful and into her own and he realizes, she’s going to do what she wants, he either can support her or fight her all the time. He chooses to mostly support her. Their relationship may not have started out in the best way but it has become one of the healthier relationship with the both learning to listen to each other to give each other want they want without pushing each other. I do admit, I thought this was a YA book since the last book I read by Jennifer Armentrout was but it does have some of the most explicit sex scenes I have ever read. The details in them at times was kind of blushing, which can be a little embarrassing when reading on the subway to work. So yeah, I like this series. I look forward to see where it goes from here now that the stakes have been raised and war is about to begin.